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Code Red: Why Kids Aren't Learning Computer Skills

Science & Tech  (tags: american, business, computers, concept, design, discovery, education, engineering, investigation, NewTechnology, research, science, scientists, society, technology )

- 2013 days ago -
The producer of 'Waiting for 'Superman' ' busts the myths that coding is just too hard and only for boys. Now, why exactly aren't we teaching more kids how to be the next Steve Jobs or Mark Zuckerberg?


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Kit B (276)
Sunday March 17, 2013, 8:26 am
How would the world change if more kids were taught to code? (Photo c/o Lesley Chilcott)

We might be missing the boat on something pretty huge. It turns out computer science is among the highest paid college degrees and programming jobs are growing at two times the national average.

Now, why exactly aren't we teaching more kids how to be the next Steve Jobs or Mark Zuckerberg?

Common myths around coding insinuate that, well, it's just too hard. A new short documentary by Lesley Chilcott, the producer of Waiting for "Superman," along with, a foundation and online hub dedicated to growing computer programming education, shows that this is not even remotely true.

**Take Action at VISIT SITE**

In the film, famous faces from Bill Gates to Mark Zuckerberg to talk about the importance of coding and how you don't need to be a genius to learn. They tell Chilcott that when you do get a program to work, "it feels like magic."

Technology is all around us, she says, yet most of us don't know how it works. "If you go to another country, you make an effort to learn a few words of the language, just so you can communicate. What's even more interesting to me is if you don't have a minimal understanding of how something functions, how are you going to know how to change it?"

Coding to her, and the founders of, is directly linked to change.

Thankfully, school administrators and lawmakers are starting to understand that we need to place more focus on computer science. Mayor Bloomberg, for example, recently announced that 20 public schools have been selected to take part in a software engineering pilot program in New York City.

For teachers and parents across the country, if coding is not offered at your school, it doesn't mean kids can't learn. With, you can type in your city online and find coding classes near you. There are also online options like Code Academy that will teach you coding skills for free.

"You can debate the pros and cons of the internet and modern technology," Chilcott says, "but the bottom line is it's everywhere, so do you help shape it or are you shaped by it?"

To view the short documentary visit

By: Jenny Inglee | Take Part |

Jenny Inglee is a Los Angeles-based journalist and the Education Editor at Take Part.

Kit B (276)
Sunday March 17, 2013, 11:51 am

I have flagged the above SPAM, and flagged this profile, please do the same.

Lois Jordan (63)
Sunday March 17, 2013, 12:40 pm
Noted. (Also flagged spam).
This really sounds like something kids would be interested to learn, too. I think it's a great idea. How many more young minds could be reached by sparking this interest? I only hope the mistake isn't made of concentrating more on the males than females, which often happens. Also signed up to receive continuing info.

Gene J (290)
Sunday March 17, 2013, 1:02 pm
"In the film, famous faces from Bill Gates to Mark Zuckerberg to talk about the importance of coding and how you don't need to be a genius to learn. They tell Chilcott that when you do get a program to work, "it feels like magic."

I built my own website and can attest that when you get the coding just right, and things look onscreen exactly as you imagined them, it does feel like magic. Were I a much younger person, this is the field I would have chosen, and do encourage young people I know to look at. One of my oldest son's friends, whom I taught to use a computer, caught fire with it, built his own and now makes twice what I did. This is the "language" of the future and children should be encouraged to explore computer science, there are SO many opportunities, most not involving coding either, but other imaginative skills. Children are so adept at using technology, I'd love to see them get into the behind the scenes parts of it too - it could be the thing we need to move from a manufacturing society to an intellectual property creation society. The work is entertaining, not boring, of huge value and the possibilities endless - for boys and girls both. This is where our schools ought be spending time, effort and money as we move ever further into the information age.

Mike S (86)
Sunday March 17, 2013, 1:13 pm
Excellent article Kit. Thank you.
Spam flagged.

Theodore Shayne (56)
Sunday March 17, 2013, 1:44 pm

marie C (163)
Sunday March 17, 2013, 6:09 pm
Spam flagged Kit but I read it twice because thought I had missed something haha I am very tired but I had to smile for being so stoop
Excellent article Thank you

Past Member (0)
Sunday March 17, 2013, 6:12 pm
Great article Kit. Just got used to the clothing spam now we have dating on care2. Better to laugh than get angr.

Kit B (276)
Sunday March 17, 2013, 6:42 pm

Actually Mickey that SPAM is using Care2 for free advertising and to tempt others into falling for whatever it is they are selling. This can in turn cause members problems with more SPAM or viruses in their email. Not really laughable. Best to flag it whenever it is seen.

JL A (281)
Sunday March 17, 2013, 7:58 pm
Flagged...I first flagged profile 24 hrs. ago.

15-20 years ago elementary school students with computer literacy classes were coding in html--and folks think it's too hard for high school now? I guess they want to graduate students who can't think,

Lynn D (0)
Monday March 18, 2013, 1:57 am
Interesting.....maybe they can catch up in college..........

Anthony Hilbert (6)
Monday March 18, 2013, 3:06 am
@ JLA - yes, between this and other attacks on schools it's clear that the agenda is to graduate students with no saleable skills, so they can get their cheap unskilled workers at home instead of bringing in migrants. Meanwhile the rich will go on giving their kids the best education they can buy, to widen the class divide.

Nancy C (806)
Monday March 18, 2013, 7:09 pm
And sadly Anthony, they become the decision makers...Let's keep our grassroots ngos growing and strong.

Joseph Miller (23)
Wednesday March 20, 2013, 4:38 am

Thomas H (37)
Wednesday March 20, 2013, 1:35 pm
Thank you, Anthony. You said it all.
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